I’ve known Renita for a while now. Originally from America, Renita now lives in Wigtown, which the book town in Scotland, with the most stunning views across the estuary. When I’ve performed at the festival, the children have all been whipped up to a frenzy by Renita, who welcomes them in and “settles them down” [...]
As English children prepare for their new spelling and punctuation tests, It makes me wonder about the outcome of all this testing.
The testing of children is one-sided and far too academic. Where are the art exams for eleven year olds? The music exams? The interpersonal skills exams, the cooking, the athletic, the talking and the reading for pleasure exams? These are all real skills in life that are ignored by those academics and politicians who run education and wish everyone to be like them and damn them if they aren’t.
Those who excel in real life skills are taught by the education system that they are failures, that spelling and punctuation is all that matters, followed closely by maths and the cold analysis of text. Fail in those and you are a failure.
If those who excel in tests – those who go on to become politicians, set the tests and run education – were made to sit tests in art, drawing, gymnastics, football, astronomy, fashion, music and any number of relevant subjects, they would also know what it is like to be deemed a failure at the age of eleven.
I am all for good spelling and punctuation, but this comes with culture. If correct spelling and punctuation are expected and rewarded, then the achievement levels will rise. If it is made the subject of do or die testing – for the school as much as for the pupil – then for every happy smiling face on results day, there will be a crying, shame-faced failure, stigmatised for the rest of their lives.
“I’m no good at spelling,” they’ll say in their defence. “Look I’ve got a certificate to prove it!” And so the path of their lives is set for them by those to claim to have their best interests at heart.
Neuroscience is showing us daily how different we all are, how some just see the world in a different way to others. The internet is changing the way everything is done. New, previously unheard of skills are demanded daily, and yet academics are obsessed with preserving tests relevant to the age of coal and steam.
Let us have a level playing field. If you are not wired up for perfect spelling or number-crunching, let it be possible to show how amazingly you are wired up for the things in which you excel – the very skills that the world needs now.
YouTube Follower, JSWHISS asked me to draw feet this week. I think hands are the hardest, but now I’m not so sure. I think I’ve been in denial about feet. If I can, I draw feet off the page or hide them behind something in the foreground, as that’s a lot simpler.
I generally find that if in doubt, I go to see what the Ancient Greeks did as they really knew how to draw and make it simple. That’s what I did when I was drawing my Olympia books that I show in the video.
If you were thinking of getting one or two copies, it really helps support this website and my drawing videos if you use the Amazon Links below. Thanks.
My legacy is that I learned to draw feet a little better than before. While researching for my Olympia books, I looked at a lot of drawings on ancient Greek pots. The drawings were a revelation. I’d never really looked at them closely before. The style and often the drawings themselves were drawn again and again and passed down from father to son or master to apprentice. All the time the style was refined so that graceful athletes could be portrayed in a very few stokes of the pen or inscribed with a stylus.
I find I often go to the Old Greek Masters for inspiration and understanding of how to draw simply as well as how to understand the world in general. The old philosophers had it pretty well sorted!
If you were thinking of getting one or two, It really helps support this website and my drawing videos if you use the Amazon Links below. Thanks.
I went to Brussels in Belgium on the Eurostar Train this week and I took my sketchbook with me. I thought it was a great way to share the experience with you as it is a record of my thoughts and things that catch my eye as I go along.
I was visiting the British International School in Brussels, which is in a wonderful old house full of Art Nouveau and Art Deco details. I had a great time there meeting the children, who come from all over the world, telling them stories and showing them how to draw stuff!
Thanks to everyone at the school for arranging the trip and making it both possible and memorable.
Here is a wonderful infographic I came across that explains everything about making art for other people, either as a professional or as someone who wants to have their work seen and appreciated by others.
What EVERY Creative Person with a Product or Service Absolutely NEEDS to Know – A graphic by Alex Mathers at www.redlemonclub.com
© 2013 Red Lemon Club. All rights reserved
Follow the instructions on the video and when you are ready to draw click on the picture for simple drawings of the main stages of construction. Have fun… and may the force be with you!
But the nature of copyright is changing. When reproduction was difficult and expensive, copyright was easy to police. Now it is easy to and cheap to copy and almost impossible to police. Law is no use if it cannot be applied. What will creators do in the future?
I was really pleased to be contacted by Paul on YouTube today, who asked me what I thought of this video by Myron Barnstone, who teaches drawing at the Barnstone Studios, which I’m sorry to say I’d not come across before. Myron so perfectly encapsulates my thoughts about drawing and art teaching, I really wanted to share this video with you too.
I was lucky, my very first teacher, when I was 18, sat me down and showed me how a pencil works and showed me the shapes in the things that I was drawing. I only had that teacher for five or six months, but he literally changed the course of my life… in one lesson!
After school I went into a small print shop where I pretty much had to work it out myself. I learned a huge amount about type and the technicalities of Letraset and and wonderful machine called a headliner that produced crisp type on a strip of photo paper. All the time I was drawing and teaching myself with books from the library, trying stuff out. I then worked with a sign writer who really did instruct me. Like Myron says of his students in this video. I still feel him breathing over my shoulder as he points out where I’m going wrong all these years later!
Later I I worked for the land registry and had very strict training in watercolour wash techniques, which have stood me in good stead ever since.
Art college was three years of working it out myself. We received no instruction at all. In fact I often had to teach the skills I’d learned in the real world to my fellow students and on a couple of occasions to visiting lecturers! Our Lecturers “didn’t want to spoil out raw talent,” so they gave us a project and went to the pub for the rest of the week. Looking back, we floundered. Most never bothered coming in to college – there weren’t any classes to attend and if a lecture was arranged we’d got so out of the habit of attending no one ever went. It must have been soul destroying for the lecturers.
Myron is right. If you are serious, learn and get trained somehow. Then rebel after you know what you are doing and add your bit to the world of art and it’s body of work, but if you just rely on talent, you have a very long and hard and lonely journey ahead of you.
YouTuber, Jamie Webb, asked me to draw a pear. I decided to draw two – the first in watercolour and the second showing how to construct the shape of a pear and how to draw it with stipple shading. You can see that video below
Meanwhile YouTuber, Mimorsi, asked me — Shoo I really want to be an illustrator like you but I don’t have much skill, I want you to help me “practice,? practice, practice” but without copying someone else’s work (your work). What I’m trying to say is that I want to know how to draw stuff by checking reference, but then give it my own twist. The bad thing is I just can’t understand the basic shapes constituting my subjects, I find it difficult to get the essence of a subject to then transform it my own way. HELP PLEASE
This video starts with a bit of a discussion about using reference, where to find it, how to keep yourself safe with copyright and how to adapt the images you find to your use. Hope it starts to make sense. I will go into this subject more in other videos.
this is followed by quite a lengthy video of drawing and painting a pear with watercolour. I’ve not edited it too much because I know some people like to see the whole process and I haven’t doen a video like that for a while. Enjoy
This is for the British International School in Brussels, where I visited this week. We had a lot of fun and they said they would be drawing the Eiffel Tower very soon, so this is to help them all. Good luck guys!